Omar Khalid [center], from his latest propaganda video. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.
One of the top leaders of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan said the terror group seeks to overthrow the Pakistani government, impose sharia, or Islamic law, seize the country’s nuclear weapons, and wage jihad until “the Caliphate is established across the world.”
The statements were made by Omar Khalid al Khurasani, the al Qaeda-linked leader of the Movement the Taliban in Pakistan’s branch in the Mohmand tribal agency, in a video that was released on jihadist web forums yesterday. The video, which also discussed the history and evolution of the Movement the Taliban in Pakistan, was released by Umar Studios and has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
In the video, Khalid said the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan was united and strong and operating under the leadership of Hakeemullah Mehsud. Khalid outlined five “important goals” of the Taliban: overthrow the Pakistani institutions; release both Pakistani and “foreign” fighters; impose sharia law; obtain a nuclear weapon; and establish a global caliphate.
“First of all, we aim to counter the Pakistani government, its intelligence agencies, and its army, which are each against Islam and have oppressed the mujahideen and their families,” Khalid said, according to the SITE translation. The Taliban want to “avenge the oppression of the mujahideen in the tribal and urban areas” as well as the “humiliation of the mujahideen in Pakistani prisons.”
“Our second objective is to seek the safe release of Pakistani and foreign mujahideen in Pakistan,” Khalid continued. The term “foreign mujahideen” refers to members of al Qaeda and other outside terror groups such as the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan.
Khalid said the Taliban want to “replace the English system of democracy with Islamic Shariah” as “the Pakistani system has nothing to do with Islam.”
Khalid also said that the Taliban want to seize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and “other resources,” including the army, to defend Islam.
“Another objective of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan is to use Pakistan’s strengths including the atomic bomb, army, and other resources, to guide other Muslim countries and for the survival of Islam,” Khalid said. “Pakistan’s soil, Pakistan’s people and Pakistan’s mujahideen must not be used to serve American interests, but must be used for the survival and integrity of Islam.”
Finally, Khalid said that the Taliban would continue their fight even after taking over Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“Our objectives are as clear as the orders in the Qur’an, which is our constitution. Allah said in the Qur’an: ‘Fight against hypocrites and apostates till there is no more fitna [sedition],'” he said. “So, until Islam is implemented in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the Caliphate is established across the world, our jihad will continue. This is our first and foremost objective.”
Omar Khalid, the Taliban commander of Mohmand agency, in 2007
Mohmand Taliban under command of able leader
Khalid is a senior deputy of Hakeemullah Mehsud’s Taliban movement. Khalid is considered one of the Taliban’s most effective and powerful leaders in the tribal areas. He also maintains close ties to al Qaeda and is believed to have given sanctuary to Ayman al Zawahiri in the past.
Khalid is also allied with Qari Zia Rahman, the dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda leader who operates in Pakistan’s tribal agencies of Mohmand and Bajaur as well as in Afghanistan’s provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. Rahman established and runs the suicide training camps that are used to indoctrinate and train female bombers [see LWJ report, Al Qaeda, Taliban create female suicide cells in Pakistan and Afghanistan]. In August 2011, Khalid claimed credit for a female suicide attack in Peshawar.
Khalid has been active in the Taliban’s propaganda machine since the death of Osama bin Laden, and has been vocal in his support of al Qaeda. In mid-May, Khalid vowed revenge on Pakistani and US forces for the death of Osama bin Laden.
“We will take revenge of Osama’s killing from the Pakistani government, its security forces, the Pakistani ISI, the CIA and the Americans, they are now on our hit list,” Khalid said. “Osama bin Laden has given us the ideology of Islam and Jihad, by his death we are not scattered but it has given us more strength to continue his mission.”
In early June, Khalid said the Taliban have been behind the spate of attacks in Pakistan and again threatened the US.
“Our war against America is continuing inside and outside of Pakistan. When we launch attacks, it will prove that we can hit American targets outside Pakistan,” Khalid said.
In the same interview, Khalid said that Ayman al Zawahiri is al Qaeda’s “chief and supreme leader.” He stated this more than one week before Zawahiri was officially declared emir of al Qaeda.
Khalid gained prominence during the summer of 2007 after taking over a famous shrine in Mohmand and renaming it the Red Mosque in honor of the radical mosque in Islamabad whose followers had attempted to impose sharia in the capital.
The Mohmand Taliban took control of the tribal agency after the Pakistani government negotiated a peace agreement with the extremists at the end of May 2008. The deal required the Taliban to renounce attacks on the Pakistani government and security forces. The Taliban said they would maintain a ban on the activities of nongovernmental organizations in the region but agreed not to attack women in the workplace as long as they wore veils. Both sides exchanged prisoners.
The Taliban promptly established a parallel government in Mohmand. Sharia courts were formed, and orders were given for women to wear the veil in public. “Criminals” were rounded up and judged in sharia courts. Women were ordered to have a male escort at all times and were prevented from working on farms. The Taliban also kidnapped members of a polio vaccination team.
In July 2008, Khalid became the dominant Taliban commander in Mohmand after defeating the Shah Sahib group, a rival pro-Taliban terror group with ties to the Lashkar-e-Taiba. The military claimed it killed Khalid in January of 2009, but the Taliban denied the report and he has since surfaced.
The Pakistani government placed a $123,000 bounty on Khalid’s head in 2009. But Pakistan has failed not only to arrest or kill Khalid; it has yet to capture or kill any of the terrorist leaders on that bounty list. The US succeeded in killing Baitullah Mehsud, who topped the list, in a drone strike in South Waziristan in August 2009.
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